BBC One and US premium cable network Starz have rounded out the cast of their co-production The Dresser.
Emily Watson, Sarah Lancashire, Vanessa Kirby, Edward Fox, Tom Brooke, John Ashton, Ian Conningham, Annalisa Rossi, Helen Bradbury, Carl Sanderson, Matthew Cottle and Martin Chamberlain have signed on for co-starring role opposite Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen in the two-hour drama, TVWise has learned.
The Dresser tells the story of one fateful night in a small regional theatre during World War Two as a troupe of touring actors stage a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Bombs are falling, the sirens are wailing, the curtain is up in an hour but the actor/manager Sir (Hopkins) who is playing Lear is nowhere to be seen. His dresser Norman (McKellen) must scramble to keep the production alive.
Emily Watson (A Song For Jenny) has been cast as Her Ladyship , Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) as Stage Manager Madge, Vanessa Kirby (The Frankenstein Chronicles) as Irene, Edward Fox (Lewis) as Thornton, Tom Brooke (Sherlock) as Oxenby/Edmond, John Ashton (The Finder) as Gloucester, Ian Conningham (The Hollow Crown) as Kent, Annalisa Rossi (Miranda) as Goneril, Helen Bradbury (Lucan) as Regan, Carl Sanderson (That Day We Sang) as Cornwall, Matthew Cottle (Citizen Khan) as Albany and Martin Chamberlain (Lewis) as Gentleman.
The two-hour drama is based on the play of the same name by Ronald Harwood and originally scored a green-light at BBC One last November, with Starz coming on-board as a co-producer in January 2015. Collin Callender’s production company Playground Entertainment and Sonia Friedman Productions are producing. Colin Callender, Sonia Friedman and Ben Stephenson are serving as the executive producers, while Richard Eyre is attached to direct.
“To bring such incredible and world-class talent together for The Dresser is testament to Ronald’s wonderful play, which is as current and witty today as it was in 1980″, said the BBC’s Controller of Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson, who commissioned the drama and serves as an executive producer. “With Anthony and Ian at the helm of the drama and such an array of supporting stars – the audience is in for a once-in-a-lifetime treat.”
Production on The Dresser is now underway in London with both BBC One and Starz eyeing a late 2015 premiere.